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INSIDE POLITICS

McConnell Under Growing Pressure To Act on Gun Control; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is Interviewed About Gun Legislation; Trump Re-election Campaign Posted 2,000 Facebook Ads Referencing An "Invasion"; Mom And Daughter Were At Store in Different Areas During Shooting. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired August 6, 2019 - 12:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[12:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: I have no sense what is in the president -- what is in Donald Trump's mind but I hope that he is coming here to add value to our community.

And then saying that she was disappointed with the president's remarks yesterday saying they fall well sort and that she also doesn't know that he knows what he believes when it comes to guns.

Much more from Dayton coming up.

But also coming up next, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, she says she's posed to take on -- she's poised to take on President Trump in 2020. Right now looking at -- looking at the Senate, what does she think about what is poised possibly to happen there in terms of action on gun legislation with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the helm?

We'll discuss that and much more, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: The debate over gun measures has been going on for a very long time. What restrictions, how much, for whom, what time period?

What is different right now is there is one singular figure in Congress with the power to decide what action or not takes place on any of it, the Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. And there are new calls for action from Capitol Hill including this morning, a bipartisan plea from the top Senate Democrat and a New York Republican. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Today Peter King, a Republican, myself a Democrat, are here to say enough is enough. We are calling on Leader McConnell to bring the bill that passed the House that Peter King bravely sponsored to the floor of the Senate ASAP. If that bill comes to the floor of the Senate, I believe it will pass.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: Senator Mitch McConnell has issued a statement in the aftermath of the shooting saying the Republicans are prepared to do their part, adding this. "Partisan theatrics and campaign-trail rhetoric will only take us farther away from the progress all Americans deserve."

[12:35:04] How real is the spirit of bipartisanship on this, considering what the country has seen over and over again which is no action really after the mass shootings before this?

CNN's Lauren Fox is on Capitol Hill, she's been looking into all this. Lauren, what is Mitch McConnell going to do? What are you hearing?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, a person familiar with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's thinking told me that he is very serious about potentially putting something on the floor of the Senate, at least having a process. And he's dispatched three committee chairmen to try to come up with some kind of plan. But what that looks like is still very unclear.

We know some of the red lines for Republicans. They include, you know, not banning so-called assault weapons. We've also talked about background checks, is that one of the potential opportunities for Republicans and Democrats to come together.

There was that vote back in 2014. It failed. Is it an opportunity now to bring that back. That's one of the questions.

We also know that there has been agreement within the Senate Judiciary Committee between Republicans and Democrats to incentivized states to pass red-flag laws. That's another potential place where they could find some kind of bipartisan agreement.

But there still is no indication that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring members back from this five-week August recess. And it's still unclear whether or not the president's focus will still be on gun legislation when they return in September.

Kate?

BOLDUAN: That is a great point, Lauren, one to remember. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.

Let's talk more about this right now. Joining me right now is a Democrat presidential candidate, Senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand. Senator, thank you for being here.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My pleasure.

BOLDUAN: Just on some of Lauren Fox's reporting, I wanted to get your gut reaction to -- those close to Mitch McConnell are telling Lauren that he's, quote-unquote, serious about allowing the Senate to have a process on, you know, bipartisan, bicameral legislation to address gun violence. It's a process, serious about allowing a process to go through. What does that mean to you? GILLIBRAND: I don't know what he's waiting for. And I don't know what Republicans in the Senate are waiting for. They should be calling on Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate back to vote on this legislation today. There should be no more excuses.

We've seen gun death after gun death. We've seen families being slaughtered just doing their back-to-school shopping. This is unacceptable. And we need leadership in the U.S. Senate, and what Mitch McConnell needs to do is call the vote.

We should vote on universal background checks which already passed the House. We should vote on a federal anti-gun trafficking law which I worked on for many years and got 58 votes the last time. We should actually pass a ban on military-style assault weapons and large magazines.

The reason why these shooters could kill so many people so quickly is because they were using weapons of war. We see people who are fueled by hate hunting down other Americans using weapons designed solely for the military. It's an outrage. And the silence by Republicans in Congress, particularly in the Senate, is deafening.

BOLDUAN: Have you -- are you hopeful that something is different in the aftermath of this shooting, that there is a groundswell or a movement -- you know, I'll say from the ground up maybe that you think is different -- somehow different this time? Are you hopeful or are you -- at this point do you -- have you given up on Congress getting anything done that you want to see done when it comes to gun measures?

GILLIBRAND: I'm absolutely not giving up. And I think the American people's minds have been made. They want action. They want action now.

And unfortunately President Trump is unwilling to take responsibility for his own actions. He's unwilling to recognize that he spent four years demonizing the most vulnerable, being racist in his rhetoric and his language, calling Mexicans rapists. Talking about people at the border invading this country and infestations. What does he think is going to happen?

He has emboldened white supremacists. He has emboldened white nationalists. And he's -- it has all now come home to roost. And so he needs to take responsibility. He needs to call on Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate back and pass these three commonsense measures.

BOLDUAN: I've seen some Republicans in the Senate say they want to see a background check bill come up for a vote just on that singular issue. I've seen Susan Collins and Pat Toomey and Mike Braun of Indiana, they all told "The New York Times" that. Do you think this could be a new moment for your Republican colleagues that aren't named Mitch McConnell?

GILLIBRAND: I've been waiting. I've been waiting for the last two years of President Trump's presidency for courage from the Republican Party, for the steel of their backbone to somehow emerge because it's not happening. And there is no greater moment than now to do it, to just say we must do the commonsense things today.

[12:40:03] And so I hope that today is the day they will stand up, demand a vote asking Mitch McConnell to call us back into session so we can vote. These are the kinds of things we can do now. We know what to do, and it could protect lives.

BOLDUAN: Public calls mean a lot, and they can make a difference on many fronts. I do wonder when it comes to Senator McConnell, have you had your staff reach out to his office to make this simple request of coming back into session. I wonder if you think that is -- that would be worthwhile?

GILLIBRAND: I publicly called on him to call us into session repeatedly the last two days on every national network. So I think there's no more invitation he needs.

But what I'm really concerned about is the real problem is the greed and corruption in Washington. And you have the NRA which has such a chokehold over members of Congress. They don't want any of these common sense measures done. And because too many members of Congress are beholden to the NRA's money and to being raided by them that they are unwilling to stand up to do what's right.

So, we need to get money out of politics. We desperately need publicly-funded elections. I have a comprehensive approach to do that that experts agree is the most transformative ever recommended or certainly ever put forward in a presidential campaign. And so we want to get this done. And this lack of action I think is really caused by this fundamental rot at the center of Washington which is the love of money.

BOLDUAN: The love of money is definitely alive and well in Washington, that's for sure. You did not like what President Trump had to say yesterday, to say the least when I was looking at your Twitter and your commentary. After Trump spoke, President Obama put out a statement of his own. And in part, let me read you for our viewers part of what President Obama said.

He said this. "We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments. Leaders who demonize those who don't look like us or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people."

Now, Obama has rarely spoken out. I wonder what you thought of his remarks. I mean, do you wish that -- he didn't named him, it's pretty clear who he's talking about, but do you wish he had called President Trump out by name?

GILLIBRAND: No, I think President Obama's statement is exactly what we expect of national -- of presidents in our country and of national leaders. I think he said very thoughtful words. But I just remember when my friend, Gabby Giffords was shot, and President Obama's leadership at that moment was what the nation needed. They needed a healer-in-chief. They needed someone who would recognize that a young girl lost her life because she showed up to see her congresswoman do her job. That shooter was able to kill so many people in seconds because he had a military-style weapon.

This problem has only grown under President Trump. The division and the hate and the fear he has created in communities across this country is so harmful. So I'm grateful to President Obama for being the president that we love and need right now, saying the right words at the right time. He did that for a nation after that shooting in Arizona, and I wish this president had even an ounce of the courage that President Obama has.

BOLDUAN: Senator, thanks for coming on. Thank you for your time.

GILLIBRAND: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Still ahead for us, President Trump, he didn't just talk about an invasion at the border on the campaign trail, on his Twitter feed and since, he bought thousands of ads pushing that at well. A new CNN report, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:48:30] ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The attack behind me that took 22 lives was a, quote, direct response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. That's according to the hate-filled manifesto police believe was posted by the suspected shooter. That narrative of a so-called invasion in this country also echoes what we hear from the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is an invasion. I was badly criticized for using the word invasion. It's an invasion.

People hate the word invasion but that's what it is. It's an invasion. I call it invasion, they always get upset when I say invasion, but it really is somewhat of an invasion. Because I consider it an invasion.

That's an invasion. That's not -- that's an invasion. Some people call it an invasion. It's like an invasion. But this is an invasion. And nobody is even questioning that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: That catch phrase to shore up support ahead of 2020. Take a look at this re-election -- these re-election campaign ads. These are circulating on Facebook. And you'll notice they all have a very clear message. Build the wall to prevent the invasion.

Joining me now is CNN Technology Reporter Brian Fung. So Brian, I know that you have some new figures here on just how prevalent these invasion ads have been. BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: Yes. Well, according to Facebook's own political ad archive, President Trump and his campaign have taken out some 2,200 Facebook ads that mention the word invasion. Now, obviously these ads are targeted toward mostly southern states, older voters, and it's mostly those who are most likely to see these types of ads.

[12:50:03] Now I took a look at some of them and, you know, many of them cost the campaign less than $100 each and reached, you know, less than a thousand people each. But when you add it altogether, 2,200 ads could potentially mean as many as 2.2 million people saw them, you know, across the life of these advertisements.

Now, these ads mentioning invasion, that's more ads than those that mention Obama, jobs and China. And so you sort of get a sense for how widespread this language is when you take a look at it in those terms.

HILL: It also gives you a sense of where the re-election campaign feels it should be in terms of the narrative. It's not just, though, those ads what we're seeing, it's not just from the president. Other Republicans are starting to follow suit, Brian.

FUNG: That's right. We've seen candidates for the U.S. Senate from North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee even, you know, glomming on to this language and deploying it in their own Facebook ads, suggesting it's got a very wide appeal among some voters and that it's going to be an issue even as we head into 2020.

HILL: Brian Fung, appreciate it today, thank you.

Kate, Brian points out what is obviously a very clear narrative and likely not the last that we've heard of it. I'll hand it back over to you in New York.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right. Erica, thanks so much.

Coming up next, a mother went to Walmart to sell lemonade to raise money for her daughter's soccer team. And she was shot and desperately trying in those moments to find out what happened to her daughter at the very same Walmart. One family's incredible story of survival, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:56:27] BOLDUAN: As the communities of El Paso and Dayton mourn the loss of now 31 lives, we're hearing incredible stories as well of kindness and heroism and survival. One mother was at the Walmart with her daughter and her daughter's entire soccer team.

CNN's Gary Tuchman has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Maribel Latin is recovering after being shot twice at the El Paso Walmart. She had first heard what she thought were fire crackers, but then saw the gun and the gunman. She tried to run away.

MARIBEL LATIN, WOUNDED IN EL PASO SHOOTING: When I threw myself, I saw him reloading the gun.

TUCHMAN (on camera): And what was the demeanor? What was he doing? What did his face look like?

LATIN: Normal.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Normal?

LATIN: Normal.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Not yelling?

LATIN: With all the time in the world.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): She heard the gunshots ringing out. She ran and didn't realize right away she had gotten shot.

(on camera) You have a bullet that hit you here near your elbow, and you have a bullet, do you mind, that hit your foot. When were you shot, before you put yourself down on the ground or after?

LATIN: I have no idea.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Maribel was at the Walmart with her 10-year-old daughter Mylene (ph) and several members of her Mylene's (ph) soccer team. They were selling lemonade as part of a fundraiser. But Maribel's daughter was outside a different part of the store. Maribel didn't know if she was alive and the gunman was still shooting outside as she hid.

LATIN: I saw him walking towards us. At that point, I said, what do I do?

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Maribel says she played dead.

LATIN: And he shot eight more bullets. I counted them because I said one of these is going to be mine.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Were you afraid that your daughter had already been shot?

LATIN: Because I don't know if she was by himself or he had other people.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Horrifying minutes went by. The shots stopped. Maribel went in the store, out of the store, back in the store and finally found her daughter and the other girls on the soccer team. They were all OK.

(on camera) What was the first thing you did and she did?

LATIN: I ran. I ran towards them and I yelled her name. They were all in a little bowl just shaking and holding each other. And she saw me, and she saw me like, mom, I see you. And at that moment, her face changed and she got scared. And that's when she realized that I was bleeding.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Maribel also realized that two of her daughter's soccer coaches who were there were also shot. One of them on the right, Memo Garcia is in critical condition. Maribel says he stepped in front of other members of his family.

LATIN: He sacrificed his health for his son, his daughter, and his wife.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Maribel hasn't been able to see her daughter in person since the shootings. Because of the measles outbreak, children aren't allowed in the hospital.

(on camera) When you see your daughter in person for the first time since she's not allowed in the hospital to see you, what's going to happen?

LATIN: We're going to cry. I'm going to hug her so hard. And she's not even telling me, mom, let me go. She's not. She's going to hug me right back.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, El Paso, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: That's very family. Thank you so much, Gary, and thank you all so much for joining me. And thank you, Erica for being on the ground for us all throughout these two hours. We really appreciate it.

Anderson Cooper and Brooke Baldwin, they pick up.

[13:00:00]